For those who compartmentalized during their A, where you able to stop this? If you have, what did you do?
Yes, I was able to stop. For me, it wasn't so much about "doing" something different as it was about "not doing" (cheating). I'm not a compartmentalizer by nature. I've always been a pretty open person, wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve type. So when the reason for the compartmentalizing went away (stopping cheating), the need/desire to do so went away.
My job uses various means of watching us as we work---call it tracking, surveillance, monitoring, what have you. They have the ability to pretty much know where we are and what we're doing at all times, and they utilize it. They've told us, the best way to stay out of trouble at work is to act like we're always being watched, because, ha-ha, you pretty much are. I've started living my whole life that way too, even outside of work. It's easier that way. Another way to look at it is that old saying, don't do/say anything you wouldn't in front of your pastor or your grandmother. Silly, but wise words. Prevents the need for misbehavior-based compartmentalizing.
Hope that helps some; hopefully someone for whom compartmentalization is more of a personality trait and not simply a necessity to rationalize wrongdoing will be along to help more.
Married 2.5 years
Reconciling after divorce
Is there a chance that she might be feeling like a failure since you guys aren't married and her friends all are?
I would say yes, there is a good possibility that she feels that way. But she never tried to push marriage talk or rush anything. I attribute this to growing uncertainty over the years. Her fears of the relationship were only ever brought up at the tail end of bad arguements.
"I can fill the flask up, but can't get past us
I'm in the storm, staying strong, but can't get back up"
He still does this but not quite as bad as during the A. He will come home and sit in front of the lap top and read the internet news and ignore me. Most mornings he will leave without saying a word unless I say goodbye first.
Seems like there is more than just compartmentalizing here. It's all too easy to get into habits that close the lines of communication. Have you tried activities together? I feel much closer to my BS after a game of cribbage than I do when we are just zoning out at our respective laptops.
Deconstruction of this kind of behavior takes work. I am a huge compartmentalizer. I do it often even when there is no apparent motive other than trying to keep the waters calm. Have I gotten better? For sure. Does it go away completely? I don't think so. I don't think there is a "cure." It is something that takes work, and if one is not willing to work, one will never change. My opinion is that daily honest communication can strike down the fears that drive compartmentalization.
Sometimes, when my BS and I have scheduled "check in" my fear can get the best of me all day, dreading what might come up and how it might make her or me feel. Yet, 100% of the time we both feel so much better at the end of the conversation. Which ultimately plucks away at the wall of fear I have created, and I compartmentalize less because of this. Most of the time these days, I feel like I don't want or have to hide anything anymore, which is an incredible feeling. I hope some of this helps; I feel a little rambly.
In my situation, WW says she is still very much in love with me, but she is also in love with AP. She doesn't know how to reconcile with that or what it all means. She clearly thinks she is in no sort of fog and this is all real. Maybe it is. Who am I to know what's inside her head and what is real.
The only real conclusion I can come too, is that it is not fair to me to be in a relationship/marriage when my wife is in love with someone else. 3 people can't be in it. Therefore my only option is to D.
I want to get opinions from way wards on all of this. Especially waywards that fell in love with their AP. How long before you came out of the fog?
Is it possible she never will? How can you really be in love with 2 people at once? What was the turning point for you?
17 years seems like it would easily trump 7 months, but she got in deep. Doing things and feeling things she has never done. I just don't know what to make of it all. Still not sure if I want R anyway, but I still do love her. Just can't wrap my head around it all.
[This message edited by Shockedman at 9:33 AM, June 29th (Saturday)]
I believe that someone can THINK that they love 2 people at once, but in reality they FULLY love neither.
Love as a feeling? Sure, you can feel that for more than one person at a time. Love as a committed relationship action? Not so much. One's time, attention, energy, etc. are finite. As a matter of physics, if you're putting energy (emotional, sexual, whatever) toward one thing, you're not putting it toward the other. That love as an action was what was implied when we agreed to marry our BS---the promise that we would put all of our energy, in a relationship-like sense, toward only them. That is where we failed.
Good for you for telling your spouse that three people can't be in your marriage. You're absolutely right.
I am BW, Two months post DDay. We are actively seeking R. He keeps telling me over and over that the reason the affair started was because he thought "I didn't want sex to be a part of our marriage anymore." I call bullshit. I had just had a baby...hormonal..and yeah. I didn't want very much sex at the time. However I DID just give birth to your offspring.
After a couple of years after meeting for casual sex he developed feelings for her. Hundreds of calls and texts and lies. At this point he says it was not about me, he was participating in something for him. But that doesn't mean that he didn't love me during that time and that all of the good times that we shared during the time of the A are not a lie.
He has never sent me 1,000 texts in a month or called me 10 times a day. I feel so disgusted still that he could come every day for 2 years and look at me in the face, hug and kiss me, tell me how much he loves me but had been with her or talking to her right up until he walked in the door.
I don't think he is owning his own reasons for the affair. He says it was sex..but He is a nurse and knows what happens to a woman after having a baby. I keep rehashing this and saying that is not the "why" of his affair. He says it is HIS "why" not mine...so how should I know? Anyone of you guys have a hard time figuring out your why or not really working past a stupid excuse?
Should I quit hacking away at this and let him figure it out on his own?
The latter part of my post is compartmentalization at its finest on his part I guess. But did you feel guilt when you came home and lied and told your spouse how much you loved her/him? I can't seem to get past this issue. I am hurt and enraged all over again every time I think about it. All I can think aboutis I would never have done this to HIM. He says he grew to love her but still loved me too and admitted to be more emotionally bonded to her in the A than he was to me in our marriage. I can't make myself understand...I keep thinking if he had all of these emotions and bonding and could tell her anything and talk to her for hours...why did he come back to me?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
OW=UW or Ugly Whore- cow of WH
UW claims to be pregnant w/ WH baby and I HATE her for it.
Together: 14 years
Married: 10 years
Kids: 3 beautiful boys. Ages: 8, 4, & 19 months
Trying to R-Some days are
Anyone of you guys have a hard time figuring out your why or not really working past a stupid excuse?
It took me a little while to work past the surface reasons of i was' lonely', 'didn't think my BW loved or cared for me', I was 'depressed', or 'BW and I didn't have the sex life I wanted'. It took some digging, but those are just at the surface.
For me, it is about finding out what inside of me made it OK for me to cheat on my W, and not enough sex is not a good enough reason to break one's vows. That is where FOO, old coping and survival skills, and character flaws get figured out, and hopefully change going forward.
Do you think it would have helped you if your BW had tried to make you see that those weren't the real "why's"? Or is it something that I just can't help him with?
Thanks for your input...helps a lot. And it is good that you are working on figuring it out. WTG!
I am wondering why you asked:
Has he been abused in any way as a child?
in response to Undone1's question:
how could my FWH do this: have intense intimacy with me one minute and the next with the OW?
My WH may have experienced some for of sexual abuse by an eye dr. when he was young but can't remember details. He is proficient at *blocking* things out.
The truth hurts, but I have never seen it cause the pain that lies do.
I was one of those who thought I loved two people during the affair. I was confusing feeling good with love. I was confusing the intensity of feelings with the validity of their basis. I did not really know what it meant to actually love. Emphasize the "act" in actually. I said I loved these two people but I wasn't acting in a truly loving way with either of them.
It's been 3 years since D-day. Major brain rewiring has and is continuing to occur, but it has been a gradual process punctuated with occasional epiphanies. The brain rewiring really got going when I realized that it wasn't a choice between AP and BS, rather it was a choice between mental health and not mental health. Getting to that point took months of NC (getting through withdrawal), reading SI and relevant books (educating myself about the true nature of infidelity) and IC (working on the why and learning better ways to deal with crummy feelings). NC was the starting point. Without that I don't think I would've ever made it to the rest.
I hope your WW figures it out, for everyone's sake.
Strength to you from a fellow EvolvingSoul.
Riding shotgun down the avalanche.
We are 10 months out and a HUGE stumbling block for me is that my fWH says that he felt almost no guilt or shame during the A. He says that once the A ended (OW ended it) he regretted it and realised that what he had done was very wrong (he admits he knew it was wrong all the time, but says he just never thought about it). In the 8 1/2 years between the A ending and him confessing, he says he felt only small amounts of guilt because he didn't think about the A much. He says when infidelity came up in conversation or on TV etc he would feel guilty but would then put it out of his mind.
I just don't understand this AT ALL. I don't understand how he could NOT have been overwhelmed with guilt and shame. Had it been me I would have been writhing about in guilt, shame and remorse. How come he wasn't? It makes me think his feelings for me don't run very deep at all!
The fact that he felt little or no guilt and shame for all those years also makes me wonder how real his remorse is now?? How come he is only having these feelings NOW? Does this not indicate that the remorse, shame etc he is supposedly feeling now is just "put on" for my benefit?
Or is his remorse and shame now perhaps a reaction to my intense pain and hurt?
I feel that his lack of guilt and shame makes him a bit of a monster to be frank! To me it shows a lack of conscience. I find it scary.
I had him speak to his IC about this and her response was "you are being too hard on yourself" WTF??
I would really, really appreciate some help here!!
I'm sure your pain runs deep. You've lived with years of lies because of your H's betrayal.
Here's the thing; He never realized how raw the pain could be for you. He likely convinced himself of what so many counselors tell adulterers about their secrets.
"She's better off not knowing about an affair that no longer exists".
When he finally came clean, I'm certain he never dreamed it would cause you such pain after all this time. He probably felt like he spared you the real pain by carrying this secret burden alone all of this time. Dunno for sure, but I'd bet he actually wishes he would not have ever told you the truth now that he see's how painful it is for you.
So, yes, IMO,much of his remorse is because of the pain he see's you suffering with. BUT, I don't believe that's a bad thing. I compare it to a biblical story about Saul of Tarsus when he was traveling on the road to Damascus. He had an experience that caused him to go blind until scales fell from his eyes. ( Of course I abbreviated) but my point is that Saul became Paul and lived an enlightened life after seeing the truth of his past. He had no remorse for persecuting Christians and even killing some until he SAW the truth of the pain he caused.
Now, the truth about your H;
He was a monster.
He was a liar.
He was a betrayer.
He's attempting to be a different man today.
Can you sense a difference?
Can you see if the scales have fallen from his eyes?
This A was his secret....
It's not a secret he carries anymore.... and you should be able to see a different person. If not, then I'd suggest your run.
D-Days April - Oct. 2007 Recovery started Nov. 2007
"Found Myself", I was right there in my shoes all along!
Search for self called off!
Why Repentance Is Necessary? Because Undeserved Mercy Empowers Entitlement/Sin
Some of my previous post applies to you too... Please read it.
Your questions come out of the emotions you're feeling. I'm certain that you fell even more pain knowing that your H stayed with someone for 2 years even when the sex was terrible.
I wish I could say I would have confessed. But I was never as brave as your H. I told so many lies that it created a horrible trail of deceit that has taken years to overcome.
Your H likely stayed because it was a thrill ride for him. It got him out of his depression when he was on his high, even if the sex was mediocre. It's like using drugs that you know are not good for your body, but because of the high, you do it anyways. It's all about the temporary fix at the time. I'd ask him more about the admiration he wanted from the OW being met. There had to be a payoff that was more than sexual.
For me, "Admiration" was a huge contributing factor to continuing the affair. I crave admiration. It's not a bad need, as long as I only allow appropriate people to meet the need. Because my boundaries were always poor, I often allowed others to meet this need much to the demise of my marriage. It was the primary need that was met during my own affair.
You can read a great deal about how needs are met in a book you can find in "The Healing Library" called His Needs, Her Needs, by Dr. Willard Harley, Jr.
I hope this helped some.... It's such a painful journey for the BS during the first few years of recovery....
My WH may have experienced some for of sexual abuse by an eye dr. when he was young but can't remember details. He is proficient at *blocking* things out.
Point 1: Compartmentalizing is a useful skill. It's what lets ER doctors come home after seeing gunshot wounds or whatnot and play with their kids without a care. Everyone compartmentalizes - otherwise you'd lash out at your coworkers because someone cut you off on your drive in to work.
Point 2: Children trust the grown ups they come in contact with. Because they need to be cared for to survive, their first instinct is to assume a grown up (or people in general) is a good person. However, they also have boundaries. A child recognizes fear when someone is angry. Or when someone is not being nice. They easily assume they are at fault, because they assume someone else is good.
Point 3: A doctor is presented as an authority figure, someone who takes care of you. When an authority figure violates a child, the child has to resolve some incredibly conflicting facts: the grown up is good, the grow up is bad, I am good, I am bad. There is also the additional conflict that if the grown up is good, yet doing things that are bad, then the bad thing must be how someone shows you they like you.
And yet, the child recognizes that the thing being done is bad.
How do you resolve that conflict? By pushing down the bad feelings when you are away from the bad person. By convincing yourself the bad person is good when you are with the bad person.
That's compartmentalization. Taken to an extreme in order to survive. (Especially if the child senses that he/she will not be believed.) The brain gets rewired and the child grows up to be an adult who feels intensely that he loves his wife when he is with her, and as intensely that he can be intimate with the OW when he is with her.
By the way, blocking out memories of what was actually done during the CSA is another thing completely. It is to protect the child's brain because it cannot process the horrible thing currently happening.
I think it's something I will always have difficulty understanding, this absence of guilt.
At the same time, he is telling me that he's feeling really positive about us, he's working hard to rebuild my trust, and he's being open, transparent, willing to talk, etc. So he thinks he is ready to reconcile, but he completely misses the point that as long as the MOW is in our life in any way (in his head or in the idea of someday becoming friends again), there can't be any reconciliation. The sad thing is that I think he really genuinely means what he says about us and our marriage...but he's so unable to reflect inwardly that he can completely compartmentalize (1) rebuilding our marriage, and (2) his loss of a "friend".
I am being patient and supporting him in the hopes that he will self-discover or discover through counseling some deeper truths. I've also been doing the 180 (with some results), and I have been clear with him that NC is forever and the MOW cannot be in our lives, ever.
My question for wayward spouses is whether any of you took a while to come around to the idea that your 'friend' wasn't really a friend, or that you can't have a third party in your marriage, or that having this person in your life in any way is totally devastating to your wife. He seems to feel that because the affair is over and all he really wants is the friendship (he admits the PA was a mistake), being friends again should be ok someday...and he told his counselor that he won't ever get to the 'acceptance' stage of this loss.
I hope this is all due to it being so early and that he'll eventually open his eyes. Did that happen for any of you?